Art, Entertainment & Sports Intellectual Property Communications & Media

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Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands: Supreme Court Rules Apparel Design Copyrightable

With regard to garments and fashion, the accepted wisdom historically has been that copyright does not protect garment designs. The Supreme Court just changed that in the case of Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands. Or did...more

Chevrons, Stripes, Cheerleaders, and Copyright: The Supreme Court Issues Opinion in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands

The U.S. Supreme Court issued their opinion on Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands on Wednesday, March 22. Should fashion designers rejoice or be fearful? That depends. Designers who repeatedly have original fashion designs...more

Manatt Digital - March 2017

Mobile Games' Booming Market: Opportunity for Hollywood and IP Owners - The mobile games market is growing at a record-breaking pace. The market reached a new high in 2016, generating more than $40.6 billion in worldwide...more

A Big Week for Intellectual Property: Supreme Court Decides Patent and Copyright Cases

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two opinions on intellectual property issues. On March 21, 2017, the Court decided in a 7-1 opinion that laches is no longer a valid defense to a claim of patent infringement occurring...more

Let’s Go, Big ©! Let’s Go! U.S. Supreme Court Backs Copyright Protection for Cheerleading Uniforms

In a decision that may have broader implications in the U.S. fashion industry, the U.S. Supreme Court in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc. (No. 15-866) ruled that the decorative elements on a cheerleading uniform...more

Decision Cheered by Some, as Supreme Court Clarifies Useful Articles Copyright Protection

In a decision likely to affect the fashion and design industries, on March 22, 2017, the United States Supreme Court clarified the test for determining when a design feature incorporated into a "useful article" (such as...more

Break Out the Pom-Poms

We’re all familiar with the sight. Your team is down in the final minutes of the game but within striking distance. The coach calls a timeout, huddling up the team. The fans are silent. Out runs the cheerleading squad...more

Who’s Got the Spirit?! Supreme Court Decides Star Athletic, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc.; New Two-Part Test Seeks to Clear Up the...

On March 22, 2017, the United States Supreme Court, in an opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas in Star Athletic, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., held that “a feature incorporated into the design of a useful article is...more

Supreme Court Rules Cheerleading Uniform Designs Are Copyrightable

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court held in Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc. that design elements of cheerleading uniforms may be protected under the Copyright Act. The 6-2 decision, written by Justice Thomas,...more

Copyright protection available to surface ornamentation of cheerleader’s uniforms: Star Athletica v Varsity Brands

On March 22, 2017, the United States Supreme Court in the case of Star Athletica LLC v Varsity Brands LLC affirmed a decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that copyright protection could exist in surface...more

Supreme Court Affirms That Designs Of Cheerleading Uniforms Are Copyrightable

As we previously blogged, the Sixth Circuit held in 2015, that the colors, stripes, chevrons, and similar graphic designs of the plaintiff’s cheerleading uniforms “are copyrightable pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works”...more

These Boots Are Made For Walkin’: Trade Dress and the Distinctive Look of a Boot Sole

Airwair, the owner of the Dr. Martens brand, recently launched a series of lawsuits in the Northern District of California to enforce the trade dress of its “iconic boots and shoes.” One lawsuit was filed in October against...more

SCOTUS Agrees that Cheerleading Uniform Designs Are Eligible for Copyright Protection

In a 6-2 decision authored by Justice Thomas, the US Supreme Court has now provided guidance as to whether aesthetic designs, such as stripes, chevrons, zigzags and color blocks of a cheerleading uniform are eligible for...more

Supreme Court Decision Arms Clothing Designers with ‘Powerful Tool’

As a result of a recent Supreme Court decision, clothing designers are expected to have an easier time stopping others from copying their original designs. On Wednesday, March 22, the Supreme Court issued guidelines to...more

Supreme Court Finds Cheerleading Uniform Designs Copyrightable

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court held in Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc. that designs on cheerleading uniforms may be protectable under the Copyright Act. The Court's 6-2 decision, clarifying the...more

Two Bits, Four Bits, Six Bits, a Dollar, Cheer Uniforms are Copyrightable, Stand Up and Holler!

In Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., (2017), the Supreme Court affirmed the Sixth Circuit that the two dimensional designs appearing on the surface of Varsity’s cheerleader uniforms were copyrightable....more

Be Aggressive, B-E Aggressive – SCOTUS Encourages IP Plaintiffs

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided two much anticipated intellectual property cases. Supreme Court Rejects Laches in Patent Infringement Cases - The first, SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag et al. v. First Quality...more

“Knock-Offs” Beware: SCOTUS Makes a Fashion-Forward Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court has settled the closely watched Varsity Brands Inc. et al. v. Star Athletica LLC copyright dispute, holding that cheerleading outfits contain distinct design elements that allow for copyright ownership....more

Supreme Court Outlines New Test for Copyrightability of Useful Articles

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc. significantly expands copyright protection for useful articles. On March 22, 2017, the US Supreme Court set out a new standard for copyrightability...more

Supreme Court Clarifies Copyright Protection for Artistic Features in Clothing

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court held that a two- or three-dimensional work of art on a useful article, such as clothing, is protectable under copyright law if: (1) the work of art can be perceived as separate from the...more

Client Alert: Supreme Court Finds Cheerleading Uniforms Copyrightable in Landmark Apparel Copyright Case

In the first apparel copyright case ever considered by the U.S. Supreme Court, Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., the high court found on March 22, 2017 that decorative elements of a cheerleading uniform could be...more

The Battle of the Kylies Over the “Kylie” Trademark

In one corner, you have the 19-year-old breakout star of the Kardashian/Jenner clan, Kylie Jenner, who is making a name for herself with her cosmetics and fashion empire. In the other corner, you have the 48-year-old singer,...more

Give me…“Separability!” Supreme Court Holds Cheerleading Uniform Designs Copyrightable

The Supreme Court, in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., 580 U.S. ___ (2017), resolved “widespread disagreement” among the circuits, and adopted a single test to determine the copyrightability of designs...more

Three Stripes and You’re Out

On March 17, Adidas American, Inc. sued Juicy Couture, Inc., in the District of Oregon (3:17-cv-00437), alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition, trademark dilution, deceptive trade practices, and breach of...more

Litigation Alert: Supreme Court Clarifies Copyright Eligibility for Useful Articles

While much of the legal press may be speculating about the future of the Supreme Court’s Chevron test, yesterday the Court considered a very different kind of “chevron”—a design on a cheerleader uniform. In Star Athletica LLC...more

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